The Minimum Wage, MSNBC, Ralph Nader and Bill and Hillary Clinton

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader went on MSNBC today and charged that when it comes to helping working Americans and advocating for raising the minimum wage, Bill and Hillary Clinton, a former Wal-Mart board member, “put their finger to the wind” and that “their rhetoric is very windy.”

“We’ve been trying to get Hillary and Bill to come out for a $10.50 minimum wage,” Nader told MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. “Hillary goes around the country talking about the plight of poor women and children, but she won’t come out for it. The Clintons demonstrate the distinction between liberals and progressives. Liberals like the Clintons — they are not worried about NAFTA or the World Trade Organization. They are not upset by the military budget very much. They are go, go in terms of military adventures and militarizing the State Department. They are not going after corporate welfare or demanding a speculation tax on Wall Street transactions, which would help (New York City Mayor Bill) De Blasio enormously. They are not worried even about the Patriot Act. But progressives are. And that’s the difference. We ought to draw that line. And if you will pardon me Melissa, a lot of the talk show hosts on MSNBC can be categorized as liberals rather than progressives.”

Nader also accused the Democrats in Congress as being “too sluggish” when it comes to pushing for raising the minimum wage.

“[Congressman] George Miller  and Senator [Tom] Harkin put this bill in Congress after a little pressure from some of us, but they are not really pushing it,” Nader said. “And so I wrote Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, like my fourth letter, and said — come on, take a real lead here. These workers are potential union members in the future. We have to kick start the sluggish Democratic establishment in Washington. They are so stupid, electorally. They could win the House back on this issue and preserve the Senate. There are 30 million workers looking for a little help to feed their families for heaven’s sake. We have the lowest minimum wage in the western world. In Ontario, where Wal-Mart makes good money, they have to pay $10.25 an hour. In Australia, it’s $16 an hour and they have a lower unemployment rate. We have a real opportunity here to galvanize the whole progressive movement and have spillover effects on other issues.”

As the program was ending, Harris-Perry said that she hoped Nader would “make a chart — maybe it will be a power chart — about which hosts at MSNBC are progressive and which are liberal.”

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